IBM Expands Social Business Services

Seeking accelerate its pole position as a leader in the emerging concept of “social business,” IBM introduced new programs, services and partnerships to help organizations grasp the concept and make it work for their organizations. The company is rolling out a series of technical workshops and consulting services to help customers develop a culture that fosters open collaboration and sharing among employees, clients and partners. The announcements coincide with the annual Lotusphere conference being held in Orlando this week, which features a social business theme. Read more about the specifics here.

Sandy Carter, IBM

The initiatives are the second stage in an evolution of the social business theme that began with the introduction of the the IBM Connections platform last year. “These offerings are all about how to leverage the technology to drive business outcome,” said Sandy Carter (left), IBM’s Vice President of Social Business Evangelism. “It’s about what engagement strategies to user and how to turn social business into money.”

The offerings are also part of an IBM drive to sell its services at a higher level. The linchpin of the program is strategic consulting from IBM Global Business Services that focuses on how to restructure organizations about seamless collaboration and information discovering. This morning’s Lotusphere opening session repeatedly hammered on the theme of organizational transformation. “Five years from now, the people who win will be talking about a completely new way of doing business, one with new platforms, cultures, skills and insights,” said Alistair Rennie, IBM General Manager of Collaboration Solutions.

IBM is partnering with partners to deliver training and specialized consulting services. The partnerships are intended to speed delivery of services globally and also to build an ecosystem around the social business concept, IBM would clearly like to own. Dachis Group will provide a “social business adoption quickstart workshop” and Group Business Software will provide services to make Lotus Notes applications Web- and mobile-accessible.

The term “social business” has been gaining traction in the last year. Mentions of the term on the Internet grew from two million in 2010 to about 20 million in 2011, according to an informal Google search. Social business differs from social meda in that “Social media touches mainly on marketing and PR, whereas social business goes inside the organization to include the way you recruit and retain talent and how you work with your supply chain,” Carter said. “It’s not just about demand generation but incorporating social it into all aspects of your business.”

In a separate release, IBM said it is partnering with San Jose State University to “help students turn their social networking savvy into business ready skills to prepare for the jobs of the future.”

This is one in a series of posts sponsored by IBM Midsize Business that explore people and technologies that enable midsize companies to innovate. In some cases, the topics are requested by IBM; however, the words and opinions are entirely my own.

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